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Natural Hair Care

The Natural Hair “Lingo” Guide For Newborn Naturals

30th March 2015
natural hair words

Okay so you’ve gone natural or are transitioning and after much research you’ve probably come across some forums that left you scratching your head as to what these people were talking about and being faced with all of these new things can make you feel like you’re in your first day of school again. Here are a few words along with definitions and even tutorials on the endless wonder that comes with being natural.

Big Chop– A phrase meaning the removal of relaxed hair by cutting or trimming so that all that is left are natural hair strands. “About to thug it out and go ahead and get my big chop over with.”

Bantu Knot Out– The practice of sectioning off your hair and taking one of those sections and twisting the hair until it spirals around into a resting snake like position.

Bantu Knot Out– A hairstyling method used to stretch the hair creating the appearance of loose waves. Watch a tutorial here.

Co-wash– A hair washing method where the use of shampoo is replaced by a good conditioner to retain more moisture and natural oils in the hair. Here is a good hair/co-washing method for wash day.

Creamy Crack– This phrase is a nickname that refers to relaxers.”I ain’t mad that you went back to the creamy crack.”

Faux Locs- A hairstyle that uses kinky hair to mimmic the appearance of dread locks.

Flat Twist Out– Styling method that entails creating a two strand twist that lays flat to your scalp, this style is great for more defined curls that also give definition at your roots.

Froin– The act of wearing the hair in an afro or afro based hairstyle. “Don’t feel like doing a twist out, guess i’ll be froin today.”

Locs– An abbreviated term for dread locks where the hair is continuously twisted and sealed at the ends with wax. This style is excellent for growing your hair out uninterrupted, however this look is permanent and must be cut off to be changed.

L.O.C Method– This acronym stands for Leave in Conditioner/Liquid, Oil and Cream and is a hair care regimen. This method is used after the hair is freshly washed or dry to retain moisture using the three listed products in the other stated.

Protective Style– This phrase means the practice of styling your hair in very low maintenance styles where your hair is either covered (i.e. weaves wigs) or left alone for long periods of time. “This winter weather is drying out my hair, I really need a protective style to wear.”

Moisture/Moisturise– When this word is used by a natural they usually mean that they’re going to, or need to apply water to their hair. “Does anyone know where my spray bottle is I need to moisturise my hair.”

Sealant– When this word is used it usually means the use of an oil, conditioner or cream that is applied after the moisturisation process to seal in the water. “Make sure that you use olive oil as a sealant after you moisturise.”

Slip-This phrase is in reference to the feel of one’s hair after or during the wash process or while using products. This entails that the hair strands are smooth and together and not frizzy or tangled. “After using that conditioner my hair has a lot of slip.”

Stretched Hair- When this phrase is used it is in reference to using a hairstyling method that greatly loosens the curl pattern creating nearly straightened hair. Bantu knots are usually used for this method. “Instead of using heat to straighten my hair I’ll just stretch it out.”

Three Strand Twist Out A Styling method that entails taking three strands of hair and creating a revers braid like plat. This style is great for looser looking curls. Watch a tutorial here.

Two Strand Twist Out– A styling method that entails the use of two sections of hair that are then taken and twisted around one another (much like platting) until you reach the ends of the hair. This style is very easy and basic for creating springy curls. Watch a tutorial here.

TWA– An acronym which stands for Teenie Weenie Afro. This is the phrase that women usually use when they’ve just had their big chop. “I’m not playing with this TWA today, short hair don’t care!”

Wash and Go– A hairstyling process used to greatly accentuate one’s natural curl pattern. This method is usually done on freshly washed wet hair. Watch a tutorial here.

I used a few sentence examples for the trickier words but overall most of these are pretty straight forward. Hopefully the next time you’re doing some research for your next hairstyle or new hair regimen you’ll feel more in tuned and apart of the natural hair community! If you’ve come across any unlisted words anywhere on the web please just ask!

 

Natural Hair Care

Q&A, Tips & More On How To “Go Natural”

28th March 2015
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If you’ve made it here then you’ve probably made up your mind, or are thinking about stopping the relaxers and going natural. The process of going natural is yours to choose and can be a difficult and confusing time. Here are some helpful tips and answers to most major questions on going natural that will hopefully make the process a lot easier.

After You’ve Stopped Relaxing Your Hair, What’s best?

This is the biggest turning point for a lot of transitioners, most would’ve gone most of their lives with relaxed hair so not knowing what to do is perfectly natural. The best thing to do after you’ve stopped relaxing your hair depends on how much new growth you have. If you have a lot of new growth and your comfortable with short hair then go ahead with your big chop. The big chop is what’s referenced to in natural land as cutting off all of your relaxed hair. If you don’t have much new growth then I suggest wearing braids or sew ins until your hair has grown out a little and can be cut.

Do I Have To Cut Off All of My Relaxed Hair?

Yes, simply because of the fact that once your hair has been touched by harsh chemicals such as those that are found in relaxers it will never be the same. More than likely your natural curl pattern has been stripped and will not match your natural hair in appearance or health and this will cause breakage because you virtually have two very different hair patterns in your head. After you get to know the beauty and luster that your natural hair holds you’ll want to cut those chemically processed strands off anyway.

My Densely Compact Natural Hair Grown Out With Sparse Straight Ends. Not A Good Look!

My Densely Compact Curly Natural Hair Grown Out With Sparse Straight Relaxed Ends. 

Your New Growth Is Your Natural Hair

As your hair grows out and your new growth begins to become more prominent take a moment to appreciate it. The new growth you see is your natural hair that many probably haven’t seen since they were little. Once those relaxed ends are cut you’ll be able to completely see your curl pattern and texture and this will be so exciting, especially after your first styling session.

Hair Styling During the Transition Period

If you’re wanting to wear your own hair during the transitional period then take heed that you might be subjecting yourself to unnecessary breakage. Your roots will be curly and wavy while the rest of your hair will be straight. The point where the new growth meets the chemically treated part of your hair strand is very weak and will more than likely break off (might as well go for the big chop!). Many naturals, as well as this one would suggest braids or a sew in, basically some sort of style where your hair can be left in peace to grow out.

Straightening New Growth To Match Your Relaxed Hair

Your natural hair responds very differently to heat, you will get to know this as you get to know your hair. While this may make your roots blend in a bit better with the rest of your hair for whatever style you’re wanting to wear it is not a good idea. By doing this you’re putting your natural hair at risk in very many ways which could majorly set you back when you’ve finally gone completely natural. Applying heat to your natural hair can permanently strip your curl pattern or change it. A straggly curl strand will stand out in a head full of tighter curls I have mine to prove it! You could also encourage dryness and breakage and during the transition period this could mean breaking off your natural hair that you’re trying to grow out.

Upkeep Of Hair While Transitioning 

The best way to take care of your hair while transitioning is to leave it alone and keep it moisturised! Especially your new growth. At this point it is still okay to grease your scalp.

What Will My Curl Patter Look Like?

Your curl pattern is due to many things such as your family background and genes. Don’t expect you hair to look like that naturalista’s on youtube that you oh so admire. Keep in mind that every curl pattern is beautiful from the loose S curl to the tightest wound coil. Another interesting fact is the curl pattern and texture of your hair will more than likely change as years go by of being natural. The longer you’re natural the more fruitful your hair becomes in sense and once it’s been nurtured enough it will blossom into it’s healthiest form. Also as your hair grows gravity comes into action and will put weight on your curls loosening them up the longer it grows.

Do I Still Have To Use Grease/ Grease My Scalp?

You will be pleased to know that the days of parting your hair in sections and lathering on sludgy grease is over! Your scalp needed to be greased because of the harsh chemicals from the relaxers you were using. Relaxers steal a lot of moisture from your hair and hinder the natural oils secreted from the scalp. Due to your hair being natural those oils will be released and uninterrupted.

Sooooo, Just A Few More Questions About Grease!

You can still use grease on your hair but there are some things to take into account as well as some downsides. Grease is a very effective moisture sealant but it is not a moisturiser, meaning it doesn’t add moisture to the hair it keeps whatever moisture that is already there sealed in. Grease also contains petroleum jelly and mineral oil which is somewhat difficult to remove from the hair and attracts dirt which will lead to you having to use a heavy shampoo to remove it. Doing this will clean your hair but as a natural you don’t want moisturising components to be totally removed in the shower from heavy cleansing this will lead to dryness and breakage. Oil’s do exactly what hair grease does with none of the downsides. Check out my post called 6 Praiseworthy Oil’s For Natural Hair to learn more about moisture sealants and their benefits.

Is Natural Hair Right For You?

Going natural is tough for some everything they’ve ever known about taking care of their hair is no longer applicable this is a new area that you’ll be entering into that will require a lot of work. For many their natural hair was unpleasant to see growing through as they were trying to maintain their relaxed hair which mentally results in many cases thinking that it’s ugly or and undesirable look. After I went natural my eyes were opened to the beauty of my natural hair and it changes a lot of your opinions on what is “normal.” If you’re willing to put in work and learn a lot about your hair then going natural will suit you just fine.

It was nearly four year ago when I decided to go natural, I stopped perming my hair and just wore weaves so that my chemically treated hair could grow out and it was one of the best decisions that i’ve ever made. The growth and beauty that comes with this process is almost spiritual and will change you as an ethnic woman. There is a lot to learn but there is a fabulous natural hair community that is behind you and dying to share information. Be sure to check out my post “6 Praiseworthy Oil’s For Natural Hair”, “Natural Hair Beginner’s Tool Kit, What’s Needed?, and “What All Newborn Naturals NEED To Know. These are all very informative and will truly enrich your journey. If you have more questions PLEASE feel free to ask!

Natural Hair Care

How To Achieve The Perfect Fro

28th March 2015
afro-lili

The art of the afro is a delicate and soulful skill that can be mastered by any head of hair. Here are some ways to take your natural curls and turn them into an amazing afro that has a life and style of it’s own!

Step 1: Pick your shape

The shape that your hair takes when it’s fro’d out is key, if your hair doesn’t take on the shape of an afro then it certainly won’t look like one. At this point it’s definitely beneficial to trim or have your hair cut in a style not only will this give you a great afro but it will also benefit you when styling your hair many other ways. This gives your hair a nice shape that will further accentuate your curls. A good trim & shape does every natural justice. The classic afro is perfectly round which means it’s proportionate on the top and on the sides. Then there is the shorter on the sides and the longer on the top for a more modern afro (my favourite). With so many options you won’t have any trouble finding the right shape that fits you best!

 

The Many Forms of The Fro

The Many Forms of The Fro

Step 2: Pick Your Style

There are many styles of afros out there but picking the one that suits you best is important. If you seek an afro with a hint of defined curls two strand twist or a bantu knot out are the way to go. How defined you want your curls to be is up to the size of the twist or bantu knot, always be aware of where you’re placing the two strand twist. It is possible to interrupt the shape of your afro by parting your hair incorrectly this will be explained in the last step called head layout. If you desire very defined curls then a flat twist or the use of rollers is the most ideal and there are some really great tutorials on youtube. The video that helped me learn how to master the flat twist is on my youtube playlist titled Natural Notebook which contains many other helpful tutorials.  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPCaDfIU7RLP7tC7Ncp-hSVihCE_wa4O-

If you seek an afro with a hint of defined curls two strand twist or a bantu knot out are the way to go

Step 3: Moisturise your hair

This is a pretty obvious step but the way that this step is done can interrupt a certain style that you might be going for. These styles include the modern afro (longer on the top short on the side) and the not so defined afro. These two styles look best on semi stretched hair so if you’re using a lot of water due to dry hair or any other reason use a styling cream that doesn’t contain water. An abundance of water causes shrinkage and will tighten up your curls and effect the over all look of these two styles. However when styling your hair for the modern afro spraying the sides of your hair with more water than the top can cause just enough shrinkage to give that tapered effect on the sides and really bring out the unique shape that makes the modern afro stand a part.

This is a pretty obvious step but the way that this step is done can interrupt a certain style that you might be going for

Step 4: Define Your Ends

Defining your ends in the styling process can actually compliment the shape of your afro even further. I’ve experimented with defining my ends on both a defined and undefined afro and I found that curly ends looked great on both styles! One way of defining your ends is taking a bit of defining product and twirl the ends of your hair around your finger this method works best if you’re using the two strand twist, flat twist method or bantu knot method. Flexi rod rollers are also great for defining your ends as well.

Defining your ends in the styling process can actually compliment the shape of your afro even further

Step 5: Tamed Edges

Your edges are the somewhat gatekeepers to your hair and if those gatekeepers have on wrinkled uniforms then it can actually make any hairstyle appear unfinished and unpolished. Depending on the style you’re trying to achieve experimenting with styling products on your edges could really set off your afro. I achieved some of my greatest afro’s by defining the curl in my edges or gently slicking them upwards. I found that both of those methods looked great on different styles of afro’s that i’ve tried. The modern afro looks best with edges smoothed upwards and the more defined afro looked best with the curl defining method on my edges. Two products that helped me attain both of those methods were Dr. Miracles Edge Control (For slicked down edges) and Creme of Natures Perfect Edges (for curled edges). They’re both thick wax like products but yield very different results. I love these products because they’re affordable and smell lovely!

Argon Oil Perfect Edges, Dr. Miracles Edge Control

Argon Oil Perfect Edges, Dr. Miracles Edge Control

Step 6: Head Layout

The last and most important step is knowing the layout of your head i.e. the shape of your head and where your hair falls. I like to think of the head being divided into different sections, this helps when i’m styling my hair and does make a big difference in hair results. Mentally I imagine my hair in four sections, and within these sections I especially need to be sure that all of my twist, knots, braids are going in the same direction and are the same shape. I noticed that before I used this styling method my twist would come out in disarray in some areas and the curls on either side of my head wouldn’t be matching. Overall the shape of my styles came out a little flawed. Thinking of my hair in a diagram has helped tremendously and has improved the outcome of all of my styles 100%.

4 Sections Of the Head Layout

4 Sections Of the Head Layout

Using all 6 of these steps has led to some of the best afro’s i’ve ever worn and really brought out the inner beauty of such a soulful embodiment of natural hair in one of it’s most raw forms. Capturing the afro is an art and skill that can be gained by anyone and can really make you feel beautiful. I see this hairstyle as an athem to my ancestors and a bold I love being black statement. Hopefully these 6 steps will enrich the afro experience and give you great results! Here are my 6 Step results!

My 6 Step Turnout

My 6 Step Turnout

Natural Hair Care

Cute Accessories For Fro’d Out Hair Days

28th March 2015
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Cute Accessories For Fro’d Out Hair Days

We all have those days where we just want to get up and go. That’s why having quick styling accessories that can substitute a morning of untwisting and picking out are very useful for every naturalista! Here is a list of accessories for all styles of natural hair that can really save time and add loads of style! I will include some images from my instagram and other’s from the web.

The Bandana

Not only can it be used to quickly smooth and contain edges but it can be used when you have a head full of old twist that are beginning to fro out. Just tie it around your hair but upwards so it’s not around your front edges and take out the hair you want exposed in the front. Quick and easy!

Bandana With Front Twist Out

Bandana With Front Twist Out

Black Bandana With Tails

This specific style of scarf was hard to find but here is the ebay link to purchase it. (Be sure to cut the elastic band part off of the headband for complete stylistic freedom). This is great for days when your hair is fro’d out or on an old twist out and you want something quick and easy. I’ve used this bandana to create mohawk looks and several others and because of the long front ties you can easily cover and manipulate your hair and create cute bow looks.

Old Twist Out, Mohawk, Afro Pompadour Created

Starting From Top Right: Old Twist Out, Mohawk, Afro Pompadour Created

Loose Afro Hair

This takes some prep time the night before but you can start by slicking all of your hair up and leaving your fro’d out ends in a ponytail and tying it down for the next morning. When you wake up just untie your hair and take your loose afro hair and two strand twist it. From there you can wrap or twist the hair around your pony tail until you find a desired look. Pin the afro piece into place for security and go! Find the wonderful tutorial for this style by Mo Knows Hair on my youtube playlist Natural Notebook.

Braided Mohawk Using Kanekalon Hair

Braided Mohawk Using Kanekalon Hair

A Pair of Stylish Big Rimmed Glasses

Big framed glasses look great on every facial structure and with endless style choices out there you can take your pick. I’d rock these on days when my hairstyle was old and froing. I’d get out of bed spray my hair with water add moisturiser and fro out my hair some more and put these glasses on and go. Natural hair truly goes well with big rimmed glasses.

Big Rimmed Glasses

Big Rimmed Glasses

A Black Spandex Band

These thin black headbands blend into your hair very easily and get lost in the fro but smooth your edges down and accentuate the shape of your fro without using a brush or anything for your edges. Just moisturise your hair with water and a sealant and go. (For good sealants see my blog post 6 Praiseworthy Oils For Natural Hair)

Spandex Band

Pushed Back Afro From Spandex Band

Colourful Patterned Scarves

These scarves can bring out colours in an outfit as well as being used to manipulate and add volume and style to your fro. You can twist and tie these accessories for any desired look and jazz up whatever style you’re going for on that day!

Colourful Scarf Style

Colourful Scarf Style

Big Statement Pieces

Statement pieces for your hair range from giant bows to headbands with some big flashy addition on the side. I’ve never been one to go for gaudy accessories like these but they really do go superbly well with afro’s and give you that extra finishing touch of style.

Statement Pieces For Hair

Statement Pieces For Hair

All of these accessories are super affordable ways to give your hair that extra little something when you just want something quick and simple to go with your un styled or post styled gorgeous afro hair.

Natural Hair Care

4 Reasons Why Your Natural Hair Is Dry & Breaking

28th March 2015
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4 Reasons Why Your Natural Hair Is Dry & Breaking

Natural hair is beautifully tedious and requires a lot of care which can be at times overwhelming. Especially when you have what you think is a good hair care routine and yet and still you’re not seeing retained moisture or any less breakage. Every hair type is very different and may require a little more of one thing and a little less of the other however, scientifically everyone’s hair is made up of the same thing’s that when taken into account can cause improvements. Here are 4 factors that might be making your natural hair dry and break.

Your Wash Routine

This day for most naturals is very time consuming but within the madness you must pay very close attention to everything that you’re doing. I came to this revelation one day as I was co-washing my kinky curly clip-ins. I lathered the conditioner into them and began to rinse them through water but I could still visibly see product in them. I then took my thumb and index finger and pinched the hair in a downward sliding motion to gently wring out the product. As I got closer to the ends all of the oil and product from the hair finally rinsed out and left the water very dirty. I began to really put some thought into it and realised that the ends of the hair were dry and easy to tangle after every wash and never really became moisturised without constant application of leave in conditioner. I finally figured that due to them being so curly the product wasn’t able to work it’s way out completely during the wash and was just drying around the ends. So I then implemented this method into my own natural hair wash day process and noticed a significant difference in my ends within two weeks. This repetitive accidental neglect of washing everything in my scalp down to my ends and leaving it there to have even more product placed over it was so easy to miss. This could have caused breakage by potentially causing protein overload at the ends (depending on hair product ingredients) or a build up of too much product that can weaken your ends. Don’t just count on that downward stream of water to wash it all out really work your shampoo and conditioner through all the way down to your ends with your fingers and you just might see a difference in the health of your ends.

This repetitive accidental neglect of washing everything in my scalp down to my ends and leaving it there to have even more product placed over it was so easy to miss.

Your Diet

Your hair is made up mostly of protein so it requires protein to continue growing properly. The hair operates in two cycles, one being the growth cycle and the other the rest cycle. At any given moment 90% of your hair is already in the growth cycle, this cycle last up to 2-3 years. After this period the hair that was in the growth cycle enters the rest cycle for a period of 3 months where they’re shed and replaced by new hair. However without enough protein in your body a disproportionate number of your hair will prematurely enter into the rest cycle and make shed hair more noticeable and cause more shedding. A very poor diet effects everything in your body so make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water and taking in an appropriate amount of protein. There are protein treatments for hair but keep in mind that too much protein can make the hair break so a balanced diet with a lot of water is key!

Your hair is made up mostly of protein so it requires protein to continue growing properly.

Your Detangling Process

Curly hair is prone to knots and tangles because of the intricate swooping and bending pattern of each strand. What and how you work out those tangles and knots is important and also key in length retention. If you use a brush to detangle your hair make sure that you’re starting at your ends first to pull through any curls that may be in a knot (most knots start at your ends). Another good practice is to hold on to your hair as you brush downward, some people have coily hair as wells as fine hair. Fine hairs are thinner and not as strong and can break from medium to hard tugs. One recent discovery that I’ve seen tons of reviews on from some of my favourite naturals was the Denman brush. I was reluctant because a brush is a brush in most cases and they’re all created equal! Giving into the hype I bought the D3 brush they recommend for thick natural hair and I can say I am a believer! This brush actually pulls product all the way through to the ends defining all of your curls and eliminating frizz during styling. In effect it gently grips onto the hair and doesn’t let go! This isn’t a product review so I’ll stop right there. If you finger detangle be careful to not do so on anything less than very damp hair. Not doing this caused me to get my first single strand knots which have to eventually be cut slashing length retention in half. Lastly, always follow the golden rule; never comb your hair dry this will break your hair and cause unnecessary knots.

What and how you work out those tangles and knots is important and also key to length retention.

D3 Denman Brush

D3 Denman Brush

Magnified Single Strand Knots

Magnified Single Strand Knots

Ignoring Signs

Your hair will show very specific signs when it is dry and breaking. Signs of breakage are short tiny curls that measure no longer than the length of your pinky nail. Natural shedding comes from the roots and will have a small white bulb like tip where it’s become detached from your scalp. Other signs of breakage show up in places where people are more prone to tug a little harder due to muscle positioning. These areas include near the nape of your neck, the middle of your head and around the front of your hair so If short hairs appear in this area you’re brushing with too much force. Signs that your hair may not be getting enough moisture is dry hair texture after washing the hair before any product is applied, hair that quickly soaks up water and very brittle ends. If you’re having problems with extremely dry hair try co-washing more often (Once a week for a month) and implement a deep conditioner (Every other week for a month before co- washing). This will help your hair’s moisture retention significantly.

Your hair will show very specific signs when it is dry and breaking.

Breakage (Very Small Curls)

Breakage (Very Small Curls)

These tips were formed by minor habits that I noticed myself and other naturals doing through research. Through every problem there is a solution and by experimenting with these suggestions you might just find what your hair has been lacking. Another good tip for stronger edges is to daily apply strengthening sealants (oils). Check out my previous blog post “6 Praise Worthy Oils For Natural Hair” for a complete list of those oil’s.